As he wrapped up a meeting on cybersecurity in the State Dining Room, Biden dismissed the press as they continued to ask questions. However, he appeared to answer one reporter’s query before leaving.
NBC’s Peter Alexander asked, “If Americans are still in Afghanistan after the deadline what will you do?”
The White House then proceeded to cut off the audio feed from Biden’s response. It was unclear if the maneuver was coincidental or done to prevent feed viewers from hearing any off-the-cuff comments.
Alexander later confirmed the exchange and noted Biden answered, “You’ll be the first person I call.”
He tweeted “I asked President Biden what he will do if Americans are still in Afghanistan after the 8/31 deadline. His response: ‘You’ll be the first person I call.’ Took no questions.”
Other reporters on the scene confirmed the exchange including Daily Caller correspondent Shelby Talcott, Breitbart correspondent Charlie Spiering, and Voice of America’s Steve Herman.
Republicans accused the White House of trying to protect the president.
Former Mitch McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes tweeted, “The White House cuts the President’s microphone. Pretty remarkable.”
Republican communicator Matt Whitlock tweeted, “Oh my gosh they cut the President’s microphone so nobody could hear him answer. That’s how worried this White House is about Biden answering questions on Afghanistan.”
Others decried what seemed like a callous response from the president.
Biden has faced intense criticism for the Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan following his removal of U.S. troops, and he’s continually dodged questions regarding efforts to rescue stranded Americans in the country.